Following the arrest of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank PLC, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, last week by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) the management on Monday announced the appointment of its Executive Director North, Alhaji Mohammed Lawal Balarabe, as its acting MD/CEO with immediate effect, subject to regulatory approval.
The bank however, reassures all its stakeholders including over 400,000 shareholders and 3.4 million customers of its continued seamless services.
“In the absence of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, the Board of Directors has appointed Alhaji Mohammed Lawal Balarabe, Executive Director North as Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive of Fidelity Bank Plc with immediate effect subject to regulatory approval.”
Nnamdi Okonkwo alongside some officials of the bank were last week arrested by the anti-graft commission for allegedly receiving $115m (N23bn) from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, just before the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Before the 2015 presidential election, Alison-Madueke allegedly invited Okonkwo to help her handle some cash, which would be disbursed to electoral officials and groups. A source from the anti-graft agency revealed that the fraud was uncovered when the EFCC began investigations into how officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom states received N675.1m. A source said recently:
“The MD of Fidelity Bank has been arrested and is currently in our custody. During investigations into the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners, we got a major breakthrough as funds disbursed were traced to Fidelity Bank.
“We invited the MD, who then confessed to us that during the build-up to the presidential election, Diezani invited him to a meeting in Abuja. Diezani told him that some companies would deposit some funds in his bank and that she would give him further instructions on how the funds would be disbursed.
“The first company, Auctus Integrated, deposited $17,884,000 into the bank. The second company, Northern Belt Gas Company, deposited $60m, while another company, Midwestern Oil and Gas, deposited $9.5m. A fourth company, Leno Laitan Adesanya, deposited $1.85m, while the MD himself received $26m in cash.”
The management of Fidelity bank had in a statement last week explained that the transaction was reported to the regulator and that it was cooperating with the EFCC in its investigations.